Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Three Days of Third Grade



We are building an amazing community of deep thinkers here in Room 203 over these last three days.  Our days have been filled with games, sharing, learning new procedures, reading, and discovering new learning materials.

One material we experimented with was using Sharpies for black line drawings...


We then used those tools to capture "snapshots" of our summer...


We also learned how to use loose parts to create collages to expand our thinking....


“You’re still creating stories with loose parts, but instead of using words, you use materials.”
~ Lucy

We also got a chance to find out "where math lives in our classroom and school." The kids used various classroom tools to find out the answers to questions such as:

* how many letters are in all of the names in the classroom?
* how many pages are in all of the Harry Potter books?
* how long does it take to walk up the stairs?
* how many lockers are there?
* how long would it take for all of the students in our hallway to fill their water bottles? (this was an ambitious one, but after timing the filling of a water bottle and asking all the teachers how many kids were in their classes, Norah and Kiran figured out it would take over 25 minutes!)

In short, we've had an AWESOME first three days - it's hard to believe that it's only been three days.

More to come later...

Thursday, August 25, 2016


As most of you probably know, all Portland Public Schools have shut off all drinking fountains due to high levels of lead found at most schools.  As a result, we will be using water dispensers all year.  This will make it vital that every child come to school with a water bottle that they can use throughout the day.  We will have cups in the office for children to use if they don't have a bottle.  If anyone has extra bottles that they'd like to donate to the classroom, that would be fantastic. In order to save resources and prevent long lines at the dispensers each morning,  please fill your child's water bottle each day before sending them to school.  I know it's a new habit to get into, which isn't always easy.  I will also try to get into the habit of sending each child home with their bottle every afternoon.  Thanks for your flexibility with this!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Welcome to 3rd Grade!

August 24, 2016

Welcome to third grade at Sunnyside Environmental School!  I would like to introduce myself and the grade as a whole to you.

I am a native Northwesterner, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington.  I love the Pacific Northwest and try to spend as much time outside exploring it as possible.  I did my undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and in London, UK before settling in Portland in 1998.  Eventually, I found myself at Portland State working toward my Master’s degree in education.

I am about to enter into my 12th year as a teacher (I can’t believe it’s been that long already!) and my 9th year here at Sunnyside.  My wife, Amy, and I live in Northeast Portland with our two daughters, Olivia (starting 5th grade at SES) and Angela (starting 3rd Heather's class).  We had a wonderful summer filled with camping, hiking, bicycling, swimming, reading Harry Potter, and hanging out in our yard.

Third grade is an exciting year full of learning, challenge, and fun.  Our main theme in 3rd grade is Portland, our home and city. Throughout the year, we'll ask questions, learn stories, explore, and make meaning about our hometown.

Weaved in and out of this Portland theme are a Reader’s Workshop that focuses on teaching students to become focused, independent, and diverse readers and a Writer’s Workshop that teaches students to write effectively in a variety of genres.  Our Bridges Math program will hone students’ skills in addition/subtraction and introduce multiplication, division, fractions, and geometry.

In addition to these academic skills, third grade will continue to focus on social and community-building skills.  We will build these skills through Morning Meetings, sharing, games, reflection, and gratitude.  As a school and a third grade team, we feel that we are not just educating children, but global citizens.

I will go into more detail about our curriculum, answer questions, and present volunteering opportunities at our Back to School Night (date and time TBD).  I’m so excited to work with your children this year!  See you soon!

Jeremy Thomas, 3rd Grade, Sunnyside Environmental School